Marlin 1894 Lever Rifle and Carbine

Full Disassembly/Re-assembly Instructions

Written by Rusty Marlin, SASS #33284

Lets get the safety issue out of the way. Make absolutely sure the gun is unloaded, both the chamber and magazine before proceeding with the disassembly.

Before I tell you what you need to know about tearing apart your favorite Marlin 1894 rifle there are some items that I want to get out of the way so we are all on the same page.

1) I am not a certified gunsmith. I am an avid shooter who has taken the time and effort required to know how my guns work, all my guns, how to repair them and how to provide the preventive maintenance they require. I am very proud of the fact that I have never needed to leave a firearm with a gunsmith for a problem. While some of you may think that is like playing Russian roulette, let me give you some background. I am a degreed Mechanical Engineer, a Tool Maker, and a very patient tinkerer that is willing to admit ignorance and not afraid to ask questions of those with more knowledge and experience. My humble opinion is this: if you are incapable of recognizing your own ignorance you have no business fooling with something that could take your head off if you screw it up.    

2)    I am assuming if you are willing to take your gun apart, you have taken the time to know the names of most of the components in it.   I may not get all the names perfectly correct but you’ll know what I mean.

3)    Get a set of high quality gunsmith’s screwdrivers before you disassemble anything. They will make your life much more pleasant because you are less likely to strip a screw and put a gouge across the finish of your firearm, or your hide.

4)   Work in a place that has good lighting with few shadows.  Keep a small flashlight handy for those hidden areas that need a little extra light.

5)    Remove distractions, pets, kids, spouse, etc. from work area.   Trust me there are few things more irritating than having your dog jump on you just as you take the lid off the Hoppes, or your loving spouse yapping’ at you in the middle of a critical step.

6)    Make sure your work surface is solid with plenty of area to set aside parts, tools and other materials.

7)    “Forward”, “ahead” and the like is generally toward the muzzle, “Up”, “Above” and so forth are generally in the direction from the trigger to the sight plane. It doesns't matter what attitude the gun is on the bench.

Relax, this isn't brain surgery, it’s a learning experience. First, read all the instructions through to the end. You will save your self more than a few headaches if you read this whole document before you take a screwdriver to your baby.

To see the Marlin parts diagram

Lower the hammer all the way to the frame, if you have a newer model with the cross bolt safety, place the safety on "fire" and lower the hammer to the frame. Looking down on the rifle remove the screw that holds the stock to the receiver. Pull the stock straight back off the receiver and set it aside.

Set the rifle on the table with the barrel to the left and the sights toward you, grasp the main-spring-retainer/hammer-strut-guide and pull it up and out of its groove. (The hammer has to be down against the frame for this step or there is too much spring force on the retainer to remove it.) Set the main spring and retainer aside.

 Cock the hammer and remove the lever and bolt as for normal cleaning. Remove the ejector at this time too.

There are a couple of ways to proceed with the next step. What we need to do is depress the trigger block so the hammer can get back down against the frame before removing the hammer pivot screw. The trigger block is the two pronged part that extends out the bottom of the receiver just behind the trigger and is pushed up and out of the way by the operating lever.

The following methods all work fine:

1)    Replace the operating lever and use it to depress the trigger block so that the trigger can be pulled, disengaging it from the sear ledge on the hammer so the hammer can be lowered to the frame. This is the normal operation of the firearm and is the easiest. Make sure the locking lug for the bolt is down before closing the lever.

2)   Use your finger to depress the trigger block. Least desirable requires a fair amount of hand strength and decent resistance to pain.

3)    Use a block of wood or a screwdriver handle to depress the trigger block. This is the fastest, as you don’t have to reassemble/re-disassemble the operating lever from the trigger plate.

With all the above methods use your right hand to depress the trigger block, your left finger to push the trigger back, and your right thumb to move the hammer forward to the frame.

With the hammer against the frame remove the hammer pivot screw. You may need to push it clear with a pin, a nail works good. The hammer will now come out through its clearance slot in the receiver tang with an up and forward rolling motion to clear the dogleg in the hammer around the frame. Set the screw and the hammer aside.

Roll the gun over so the trigger is toward you and remove the trigger plate support screw. This is the biggest screw on this side; it is forward of the trigger and just above the bottom of the receiver.

Roll the gun so the sights are down and the trigger is up; remove the screw just forward of the carrier-leg clearance slot. Pay attention to the length of the screw just removed, it is slightly longer than the side support screw. Lift up on the tang of the trigger plate and remove the trigger plate from the receiver. Pick out the locking lug with thumb and forefinger.  

Roll the rifle so the trigger plate opening is away from you. Remove the shell carrier pivot screw. Don’t mistake it for the loading gate screw. (It doesn’t matter if you take the loading gate screw out too, but there is no need.) The carrier will now fall out the bottom of the receiver when the gun is rolled so the sights are up.  

That’s it. The action is now totally disassembled and ready for a detailed cleaning. Get into all the crevices and hidden pockets with soft scrapers. These are easily made out of toothpicks, Popsicle sticks, the barrel of a BIC pen, a sliver of aluminum, whatever will be tough enough to scrape the powder fouling out and not scratch the internals. Liberal doses of Hoppes will help immensely. Be sure to clean the carrier, the operating lever, and the slot in the bolt where the lever rides very thoroughly. Pay particular attention to the cam surfaces on the carrier and to its lifter lug. On the older guns the lifter is a spring-return rocking toggle; the newer ones have a spring-loaded plunger. Make sure these work smoothly and that you grease them lightly before reassemble. For grease, I use Molybdenum High Temperature Brake grease. If you have never seen this stuff, it is black, gooey and a little bit goes a long, long way. In cold weather (20 degrees and below) I use plain bearing grease.

Now for the fun part, putting your rifle back together.

Place the rifle upside down with the trigger plate opening up. Lightly grease the cam surfaces of the carrier where the operating lever rubs. Don’t worry about the sides and the tang where the locking lug goes around it; nothing rubs there. Also place a little grease in the pivot hole. Place the carrier in the opening with the left hand and guide the pivot screw through the side of the receiver and the carrier pivot hole. Run it in a few threads but don’t tighten it yet. If you tighten it you will flex the sides of the receiver and won’t be able to get the trigger plate or the lock lug back in.

Now make certain that the outside sliding surfaces and the load bearing surfaces of the locking lug are spotless, lightly grease and insert this into the receiver. You can’t put it back incorrectly because it has one leg that is thicker than the other and the carrier will interfere if you try to put it in back wards.

Place the trigger plate in its opening. Start the forward most screw but don’t tighten it. Roll the gun toward you, then start the side support screw, don’t tighten it. The play is necessary to get the hammer pivot screw back in. Place a touch of grease in the hammer pivot hole and put the hammer back in its clearance slot through the receiver tang. Push the trigger against its stop with the left forefinger and hold it in position. Line up the trigger plate hole with the receiver hole, use the hammer pivot screw as a guide. Now push the hammer against the sear return spring in a forward and down direction to line up its pivot hole with the receiver and trigger plate hole. Push the screw through and snug it up. If the screw doesn’t drop through easily, you don’t have the holes all lined up. Now snug the forward most screw in the bottom of the receiver and then the side support screw. And finally tighten the carrier screw. You may want to place a speck of blue REMOVABLE lock tight in the carrier pivot screw hole with a toothpick before tightening. It has a nasty habit of coming loose. You don’t have to reef on the screws, get them tight but don’t over do it. Remember you want to clean your gun fairly often, every couple of hundred rounds or so.

This is the hard part. Make sure the hammer is against the frame; slide the main spring and the retainer onto the hammer strut with the curved leg against the receiver tang and forward. Now, the object is to press the retainer against the main spring and get the straight leg into the notch in the trigger plate. There is no easy way to do this that I know of. It may take a couple of tries, but trust me it goes there. If there are any ladies out there that are following these instructions you may want to enlist the help of a male friend; I’m not being sexist, its just that hard to get the sucker in it’s slot, or maybe I’m a wimp.

Replace the stock and tighten the stock screw. Cock the hammer in preparation for the bolt. Place the ejector in its groove.

Put a light wiping of grease on the wear surfaces of the bolt and slide it ¾ of the way into the frame. Place a little grease in the operating lever’s pivot hole and on the sliding surfaces, you can tell what these are because they are shiny. Install the lever and its screw. Go over the exterior of the gun with a soft rag and clean up any excess grease and check all the screws to be sure they are tight.

Congratulations, You’re done. Once you get comfortable with this process it shouldn’t take more than a half-hour to 45 minutes from on the bench to back in the cabinet.

I completely disassemble my '94 every 100-200 rounds. If I only shoot one match per weekend then I clean after the match. If I shoot Saturday and Sunday, I wipe the operating lever down and the clean the slot in the bolt, re-grease the parts and put it back together. Remember, as competitive shooters we put more rounds through our guns in a day than most shooters do in a lifetime. It pays big dividends to thoroughly clean and lubricate your main match guns once in a while. Not only do you know what is going on in there; you can catch minor problems before they become major problems. It also lets you communicate more effectively with your gunsmith should you have a problem you’re not comfortable fixing. If you get stuck, ASK QUESTIONS.

Written by Rusty Marlin, SASS #33284
Member of Monadnock Mountain Regulators - NRA and Life member of NAHC

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